What can I expect during the business litigation process?
Business litigation can be lengthy, complex, and expensive. It’s a judgment call to decide whether or not full-blown litigation makes sense in any given situation. During the business litigation process, you should expect to spend time gathering documents relevant to your case. The steps in the process of litigation can include the following:
- Filing an initial pleading, such as a complaint
- Subsequent pleadings, such as an answer or possibly counterclaims or third-party actions
- Pursuing an appeal if the judgment is found to be unsatisfactory
Whether or not the case actually goes to trial, there is going to be a considerable amount of work that goes into the process that you should be well aware of ahead of time. This includes searching for emails and electronic documents, which can be
time-consuming and, in some cases, expensive. However, the gathering of relevant documents has become one of the key focuses in business litigation and one of the most expensive aspects. You can expect to talk with your lawyer often while he or she gathers the facts of the case and reviews relevant documents.
At some point in the process, both sides have to decide whether they’re willing to settle the case for a certain amount of money or whether they’re going to proceed to a trial and let a jury decide the outcome. A jury trial is always a risk.
Well over 90 percent of all business litigation cases settle before trial. There may be a mediation of your case by a neutral party who is either appointed by the court or hired privately by the parties to help resolve your business litigation dispute. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a desirable alternative to litigation or, if the cause of action is of an eligible size,
small-claims court may be another venue for an owner to consider. If your case cannot be resolved through negotiation, it may move to trial.
Alternative dispute resolution is generally more informal and cheaper than a trial, and the procedural rules are a bit more lenient. In addition to this, ADR is facilitated by neutral third parties to help reach a mutual agreement peacefully. In most cases, however, it’s better to resolve the case before the trial phase, while you still have some control over the outcome.